ccording to experts, we haven’t seen even 1 percent of the change that will occur in the coming
decade. That’s because of the convergence of technologies that are developing at an exponential rate.
In the book Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World, authors Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
describe how entrepreneurs can take advantage of today’s
most advanced technologies—such as artificial intelligence
(AI), 3D printing, robotics, and industrial biology—to help raise
the standard of life for all of humanity. As the authors point
out, once only billionaires and the government had the ability
to create change on a grand scale; but today, regular people
are able to use technology to solve the world’s biggest problems, with smartphones at the forefront.
Exponential technology can be traced back to Moore’s Law,
conjectured in 1965, which posits that the processing power of
computers doubles roughly every eighteen months. Moore’s
predictions have held true, and the resulting growth has been
nearly unfathomable to the linear-thinking human mind.
Fast-forward to today, and the iPhone 7’s processor is
thousands of times more powerful than the earliest IBM computers, which could fill an entire room. The following developments show how smartphones will play a central role in the
adoption of exponential technologies.
1. Artificial Intelligence
The iPhone’s Siri, a product Apple acquired from the SRI
International Artificial Intelligence Center, exemplifies the simulation of human intelligence that AI promises. Siri responds
to a natural language user interface and answers questions,
makes recommendations, and performs actions. As Siri improves and works with more apps, we will talk to our devices
more and poke at them less.
2. 3D Printers
3D printers produce three-dimensional objects from digital
files using materials ranging from plastic to metal to human
cells. Experts predict that by 2020, we will have 3D-printed
houses and internal organs. Kickstarter project Ono promises
a $99 box that transforms your iPhone into a 3D printer. To use
it, you simply start up the app, choose the object you want to
print, put your phone into the device’s base, wait, and pull out
your completed three-dimensional object.
I foresee the next few years bringing out a myriad of practical
applications for iPhone-powered robots. A current example of
this sort of technology is RoBoHon, which was introduced by
the Japan-based company Sharp. RoBoHon, which stands just
under 20 centimeters tall, walks, dances, and even talks to you.
Controlled primarily by voice, RoBoHon snaps pictures, calls
people, takes memos, responds to text messages, and projects video from the tiny projector lodged in its head.
4. Gene Editing
Gene editing is a quickly developing field in which defective
disease-causing genes are edited and replaced. The Mouse
Genome Database (MGD) contains reference data related to
mouse genes, gene functions, phenotypes, and disease models with an emphasis on how the data relate to human biology
and disease. The free MGI_GenomeCompass app (free) lets
users create a favorites list of items from the database and
notifies you when favorites are updated.
To learn more about exponential technologies, the impact
of global connectivity, and innovation, I recommend tuning in
to Peter Diamandis’s Exponential Wisdom podcast. You may
also want to check out the Futurism app (free) to get a general
sense of what the future holds. The coming decade promises
to bring with it some amazing technological breakthroughs, and
with these tools, you can have a front-row seat as it unfolds.
How Exponential Tech Is Changing the World
Hal, along with his wife Rita, founded iPhone Life’s original publishing company, Thaddeus Computing, in 1985. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Hal’s
new book at meditatingentrepreneur.com.
Illustration by Mikaila Maidment, mikailamaidment.com